Bob Boilen 2010 i
Doby Photography/NPR
Bob Boilen 2010
Doby Photography/NPR

Bob Boilen

Host, All Songs Considered

In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.

Significant listener interest in the music being played on All Things Considered, along with his and NPR's vast music collections, gave Boilen the idea to start All Songs Considered. "It was obvious to me that listeners of NPR were also lovers of music, but what also became obvious by 1999 was that the web was going to be the place to discover new music and that we wanted to be the premiere site for music discovery." The show launched in 2000, with Boilen as its host.

Before coming to NPR, Boilen found many ways to share his passion for music. From 1982 to 1986 he worked for Baltimore's Impossible Theater, where he held many posts, including composer, technician, and recording engineer. Boilen became part of music history in 1983 with the Impossible Theater production Whiz Bang, a History of Sound. In it, Boilen became one of the first composers to use audio sampling — in this case, sounds from nature and the industrial revolution. He was interviewed about Whiz Bang by Susan Stamberg on All Things Considered.

In 1985, the Washington City Paper voted Boilen 'Performance Artist of the Year.' An electronic musician, he received a grant from the Washington D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to work on electronic music and performance.

After Impossible Theater, Boilen worked as a producer for a television station in Washington, D.C. He produced several projects, including a music video show. In 1997, he started producing an online show called Science Live for the Discovery Channel. He also put out two albums with his psychedelic band, Tiny Desk Unit, during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Boilen still composes and performs music and posts it for free on his website He performs contradance music and has a podcast of contradance music that he produces with his son Julian.

Longtime NPR fans may remember another contribution Boilen made to NPR. He composed the original theme music for NPR's Talk of the Nation.

[+] read more[-] less

The Dry Spells Rachel Walther/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Rachel Walther/Courtesy of the artist

All Songs Considered

The Dry Spells End Their Dry Spell

Spirited and full of stellar harmonies, the new song by the Bay Area band working in the English folk genre takes inspiration from Greek mythology.

Listen Loading… 5:40
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Clockwise from upper left: Missy Elliott, PWR BTTM, Macklemore and Leon Bridges, kristine leschper of the band Mothers. Courtesy of the artists hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artists

Adele's new album, 25, is available today. Courtesy of the artist. hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist.

Clockwise from upper left: Sufjan Stevens, Oumou Sangare, Sigur Ros, Alejandra Deheza of School For Seven Bells Courtesy of the artists hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artists
Courtesy of 30th Century Records

Clockwise from upper left: Grimes, Hailu Mergia, Money, Many Rooms Courtesy of the artists hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artists

Guitarist, actor and writer Carrie Brownstein performing with her band Sleater-Kinney at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. Alex Schelldorf/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Alex Schelldorf/NPR

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor